Priest's advice to a poor response to porn

I must emphatically and thoroughly disagree with some of the statements made by Father Thomas Loya in the section on pornography in your In Focus on theology of the body (“Body blows,” Sept. 26). 

When he says, “Because the human body is the sum total of all the elements of beauty ... those things which are of God ...” he’s forgetting that the constant teaching of the Church has been the chief likeness we bear to God is in the soul, not the body. 

The naked human body reveals God only in that it is a part of his creation, and it is prudent to remember that after original sin, Adam and Eve saw they were naked and covered themselves. Lust became a factor in looking upon nakedness. 

Father Loya’s advice to “see, pray and move on” and to “see the beauty and acknowledge it. It reveals God and is meant to be seen. But then pray for that person and move on. Don’t let your thoughts dwell there” is contradictory, naïve and ominous. He has apparently never encountered hard-core porn. 

When my first child was 15 I discovered his involvement with pornography, and those images were so very hard to eradicate from my mind and memory — even for years after! And I hated it! 

The Church also teaches us to avoid occasions of sin. If this article is a good example of the teaching of the theology of the body, perhaps we had better rethink the whole thing. 

— Luleene Simmens Grand Rapids, Mich.

Unifying message 

What a nice assignment you gave us, to look over the homilies and speeches of Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to Great Britain (“Pope Benedict XVI’s pitch for a lively, courageous laity,” Oct. 3). 

Whatever the circumstances, the pope was “on message” of Catholics committing their lives to Jesus Christ. 

In his visit to the United States, the pontiff repeated the greatest commandment, that we should love the Lord our God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. 

In his Sept. 18 homily at Westminster Cathedral, he used other words, but the message was the same: 

“The Council’s appeal to the lay faithful to take up their baptismal sharing in Christ’s mission echoed the insights and teachings of John Henry Newman. May the profound ideas of this great Englishman continue to inspire all Christ’s followers in this land to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ, and to work strenuously to defend those unchanging moral truths which, taken up, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, stand at the foundation of a truly humane, just and free society.” 

What impresses me is that as Catholics we are united in one Christ and in his Church, and that we have both a commandment and calling to know, to love and to serve God every day of our life.  

— Rick Luczak Bay City, Mich.

False sense of tolerance 

Robert Lockwood, in his column “Are Catholics ‘anti-’?” (Catholic Journal, Sept. 26) says that Catholics cannot be “anti-gay.” The word “gay” was co-opted by the activist homosexual community to legitimize homoerotic behavior. The Catholic Church has always characterized homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered. The Catholic Church is against sin in all its manifestations. A faithful Catholic conflicted with same sex attraction would not act out or reveal his or her homosexual tendencies so as not to give scandal and lead others into sin, and would not self-identify as “gay.” 

A Catholic believer cannot be “anti” any person, but he can and should be anti any kind of sinful behavior and should avoid being an occasion of sin for others. There should not be a self-identified “gay” community anymore than there should be a self-identified activist adulterer community. To fulminate against being anti “gay” is a smokescreen for legitimizing homosexual behavior as normal and acceptable. Our Church tells us it is not. We should not capitulate to the secular agenda in order to appease the dissonance and anxiety we might feel by being countercultural. 

Love the sinner but engage in the spiritual work of mercy of fraternal correction to lead him or her away from sin. Do not encourage him in his sinfulness with a false sense of tolerance. Sin is sin. 

— Arthur E. Lavis Montvale, N.J.

‘Passivity syndrome’ 

Regarding Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s response to a question on a Catholic’s right to an “authentic liturgy” (Pastoral Answers, Sept. 26), I offer another dimension to his comment that liturgical ministers are not in a “performance.” Agreed that they are not actors carrying out a self-centered need to be seen in specific roles in the sanctuary. 

I’ve rarely attended a Mass in which the “self-centeredness” of priests and lectors doesn’t reveal itself through perceived lack of enthusiasm or shyness in reciting the prayers and in the readings of the day. 

When there is no fervent, genuine delivery of the feeling and meaning of the words, phrases and ideas spoken in the celebration the “passivity syndrome” then becomes the “center of attention” in the liturgy. 

— Charles Callaci via email